As I write this blog, many of you are probably sinking in snowdrifts and sorry the groundhog has announced six more weeks of winter. How about an escape? –at least as an armchair traveler, for now!
But first, I feel compelled to introduce to you the Italian word bramasole. It means “yearning for the sun.” It’s also the name of Frances Mayes’ villa near the town of Cortona in Tuscany, Italy. She and her boyfriend Ed restored the abandoned, scorpion-infested house in the early 1990s to turn Bramasole into “una bella villa!”
If you haven’t read Under the Tuscan Sun, I highly recommend Mayes’ book so you can savor her gorgeous descriptions of their labor of love over five years on their sienna, rose, and ocher-colored house fit for summer clothes and open shutters, the overgrown garden with blackberry brambles, and the sun-drenched fields around their home. All will warm you to your bones.
In the Preface, Mayes says that Italy “is thousands of years deep” with herself standing “on the top layer . . . on a small plot of land” where she is “delighted today with the wild orange lilies spotting the hillside.” She hopes the reader will become a visiting friend and “walk down the terrace paths singing of the grapes . . . see hill towns of round towers and spilling geraniums . . . and feel the breeze rushing around those hot marble statues.”
I’ve only just started reading the book but already, I have become that friend Mayes mentioned, entering their three-story house, and walking through each room with rose-tangled balconies where I’ve been fortunate enough to catch a few glimpses of spindly cypresses on nearby hilltops and the warm green valleys beyond.
So, get a clue, dear Readers. I recommend this book over the movie so you can allow the author’s superb language to wash over you like a hot spring and drool over the scrumptious Mediterranean feasts conjured up in the couple’s rustic kitchen. Under the Tuscan Sun will certainly transport you as well to sun-saturated Tuscany. Bramasole! And grab the sunscreen.